Involvement of Interleukin-10 Promoter Polymorphisms in Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers—A Case Study in Non-Caucasian Skin Cancer Patients


  • This paper is dedicated to Professor Margaret L. Kripke on the occasion of her retirement from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

*email: (Chikako Nishigori)


Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is a potent immunosuppressive cytokine, therefore elevated IL-10 expression has been implicated in inhibition of antitumor immune response. IL-10 gene promoter polymorphism has been shown to be involved in susceptibility to skin cancers, but there has been no report focusing on susceptibility to skin cancers among non-Caucasian populations. We enrolled 129 patients with skin cancers and 50 age- and sex-matched healthy controls between April 2004 and March 2007. Genomic DNA was extracted from patients’ blood samples and IL-10 promoter polymorphisms were identified using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism or direct sequencing. The distribution of the frequency of allele or haplotype of IL-10 gene promoter in Japanese was quite different from that of Europeans. No significant differences could be demonstrated in the frequency of allele or haplotype of IL-10 gene promoter between the patient group and the control group. However, the frequency of the low-IL-10 expression haplotype was significantly high in Bowen’s disease subgroup. The frequency of low expression IL-10 promoter genotype was significantly less (P = 0.009, χ2 = 6.74) in the group of nonmelanoma skin cancer generated on sun-exposed areas in comparison with that on covered areas. Our results indicated that low expression haplotype of IL-10 in Bowen’s disease may inhibit the escape of tumor cells from immune surveillance, resulting in suppression of tumor growth and tumor invasion to the dermis. Moreover, high IL-10-expressing haplotype of IL-10 promoter may be a risk factor for photocarcinogenesis.